Top

Move to Health

Movement - A key Component

A key component to recovery is movement. You may have been a very active person before treatment and notice a slowing down of your physical exertion post treatment. At this junction it is important to remember to reframe your circumstances and focus on what and how you are doing today.

For those of you who have not been active pre treatment or surgery, it’s important to understand the benefits of movement post treatment for a more effective recovery process. Multiple studies have shown that regular physical activity is linked to increase life expectancy and in many cases by decreasing the risk of recurrence.

According to Lara Benusi (Memorial Sloan Kettering’s exercise & yoga program therapist), a number of patients treated for stage III Colorectal cancer found that among those who remained cancer free six months after surgery and chemotherapy, physical activity reduced the risk of the cancer returning. Movement also helps with sleep problems, a common difficulty for people dealing with cancer.

In this program, we help you understand the importance of movement in your recovery process and the long term benefits it has on your health.

This segment also covers Lymphedema, a potential side effect of treatment, which all cancer patients should know about. This is when the lymphatic system is blocked and hence restricts the drainage of lymphatic fluid. Those who should practice the Lymphedema exercises regularly are the following:

  • Patients who have recently had their lymph nodes removed.
  • Patients who have recently had their lymph nodes irradiated.

We have provided you with a lymphedema exercise chart that can be followed and practiced at home. Please connect with your doctor on whether you require Lymphedema garments.

Reference: www.mskcc.org

What is Lymphedema?

Unlike our heart, the lymphatic system does not have a pump to transport the lymph fluid, which travels in one direction throughout the body. When fluid is not moving or “pumping”, lymph fluid builds up in the area in which the lymph nodes were removed or radiated causing swelling, disfiguration of the limb and general discomfort. To prevent toxic build up and swelling, the lymphatic system depends on physical movement to squeeze the fluid through the entire body for proper drainage.

Activities such as yoga, weight training, aerobic activity, group fitness class, biking, hiking, just to name a few, increases your heart rate which increases the movement of blood. The increased blood movement acts as the “pump” and moves lymph fluid throughout the body resulting in decreased swelling.

Benefits:

  • Optimal lymphatic function
  • Mobility of muscles, joints and connective tissue
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Increased range of motion at the joints close to affected area
  • Increased functional movement
  • Improves quality of life
  • Improves emotional health

*Content written by Diana Sadtler – Exercise Physiologist and Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher specializing in cancer

Lymphedema Exercise Chart

Lymphedema Exercise Chart

Lymphedema Exercise Chart – Download